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Empowering Patients through Scientific DIY Diagnostic Apps and Tools

In the internet world of information and misinformation, it’s easy for worried self-diagnosers to incorrectly turn a benign zit into something as scary as cancer. Luckily the advancements in technology are not only improving the tools available to medical professionals, but they are also becoming available to the everyday person. Several new, affordable smartphone-compatible devices are now in development that do everything from a routine physical exam to analysis of glucose and protein levels. They offer a non-invasive, affordable and quick alternative to routine exams that would save hundreds of dollars and many idle hours spent in a waiting room.

Designed by Biosense, the $20 uChek is one such device that combines a mobile application with FDA approved chemical testing strips to offers the medical convenience of in-house urine analysis of the level of 10 different critical compounds in the body, including glucose, proteins, nitrates, and ketones. The system works by exposing a test strip to a urine sample, and then placing the color-changed chemical strip on a provided color mat to normalize the color. After taking a picture of the test strip through the kit’s cuboid, the uChek’s app analyzes, interprets, displays, and tracks your medical data. Since the technology costs much less than a doctor visit, uChek also has the application of being useful in areas with limited access to medical professionals and diagnostic tools.

Complementing the diagnostic abilities of uChek, NASA’s Scanadu Scout is a small device that can monitor your vitals such as body temperature, heart rate, EKG, and blood pressure by simply holding it on your forehead. After the device records this information through its sensors, it sends the information to the downloaded companion application on your smartphone so that you can access and track your records, instead of having this personal health information locked away inside hospital storage rooms.

These small, user-friendly mobile devices allow for early detection as well as peace of mind, all while avoiding the hefty costs of non-emergency diagnostic testing. The new technology encourages us to be more conscious and active of our inner workings instead of remaining as passive bystanders. The uChek and Scout are just some of the new devices out there now that are helping to close the gap between living oblivious to our own health and having direct access to the tools and knowledge of our own bodies

Keara Wright

Aspiring creative author and astrophysicist, with degrees in Physics, Mathematics, and Psychology.

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